Monday, June 22, 2009

Consequences

I love this word. It is just fun to say. By definition it means something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. Using logic and past history one can derive the often negative result (consequences) of almost any rational action. I am teaching my daughter the word. She says it much cuter then I do. As she grows I will explain and expand the meaning of the word. Many times I have written about this subject indirectly. Most topics have offered solutions and the most probable consequences weighed against them.


Every single problem and every issue facing this country is a result of a lack of understanding of the consequences. Whether it be something as international as Iran and North Korea arming themselves because they saw themselves included in a group where one of them was invaded. Or more personal issues such as education and health care, we have no sense of the negative impact of our choices. Often the consequences seem so indirect that we don’t realize it. This is the case with cheap imported goods and global warming. We in the west have made an art out of postponing or removing completely the negative effects of all of our crucial life changes. We often do this by spreading the results over everybody in the community. United we stand, and united we also may fall. Get pregnant and don’t want to? Have an abortion. Buy a house or too many things that you can’t afford? Go bankrupt. Eat unhealthy, drink like a fish, and smoke until your lungs are tarred black. You have health insurance to pay for the procedures. Drive like an idiot, the safety features on your car will save your life, and the forced auto insurance will pay for the damage. Don’t bother teaching your children anything. Let the school system be their mentors, disciplinarians, as well as educators. The only thing as parents you have to do is donate the egg and the sperm. Sure, get married. If one day you wake up and don’t want to be, you can just get a divorce. Never mind any of the consequences.


Many of our problems that we have today are addressing issues that were caused by “solutions” not very well weighed out. Slavery? Not very well thought out. Freeing the slaves? Great idea, but they stopped half way through the thought. What do you do with a 20% unemployed poor people. As the country grew economically we entered the industrial age. More people were required to work in factories and the business that support them. As farms were shut down and more fathers went from being “stay at home dads (farmers) to “9 to 5ers” the male role model’s impact on the home was reduced. What was the impact on the children? Then we got into this habit of sending our men off to wars. The women then had to take their place in the work force. The men that did come back were often messed up in the head and the women either had to or wanted to continue to work to support the financial “needs” of the family. At that point who was responsible for passing on the lessons and the moral fibers of the past generations to the new one? How about nobody. Now we drop the kids in our public schools and hope they learn these things from strangers who are under paid and over worked just like the rest of us. This is just one string of events that the consequences were not fully realized.


Many of the things that we in the west find repressive, inhumane, and violations of human rights in other cultures are feeble attempts at reducing some of the negative consequences. One child policies, forced marriages, rigorous religious structure, extreme gender and class distinctions, and strict criminal punishments are a few examples. These are all activities to reduce the impact of many issues that plague even our society.


In western culture we have members know as “defense attorney’s” whose first priority is to prove innocent clients, guiltless. Here the choices of somebody else has a negative result on their clients life. But in the case of guilty ones, their job is to reduce the impact of the consequence that their client must endure. It is very factual that the amount of money spent on these negotiators of the law is directly proportional to the depth of the consequences. Inherently having an advocate to reduce your negative impact is neither good nor bad, it is when that courtesy is distributed unequally throughout the society that the lessons meant by punishment are skewed.


Even the biblical teachings and something as basic as the 10 commandments were designed to counsel people’s choices towards ones with less sever consequences. Many of the negative results of these teachings were of more internal sacrifices.


Whether it is nature or our legislators attempting to hold the citizens accountable for their actions and choices it doesn’t matter. Somewhere some how, as each generation passes, less of us are understanding the meaning of consequences. On this tract we will not only deal with problems of today, but forever compounding problems.

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